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Definition:

Hemoglobin C disease is a blood disorder passed down through families. It leads to a type of anemia, which causes red blood cells to break down earlier than normal.



Alternative Names:

Clinical hemoglobin C



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Hemoglobin C is a problem with hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen. It is a type of hemoglobinopathy . The disease is caused by problem with a gene called beta globin.

The disease most often occurs in African Americans. You are more likely to develop hemoglobin C disease if someone in your family has had it.



Symptoms:

Most people do not have symptoms. Occasionally, jaundice may occur. Some persons with this disease may develop gallstones that require treatment.



Signs and tests:

Physical examination reveals an enlarged spleen .

Tests that may be done include:



Treatment:

Usually no treatment is needed. Folic acid supplementation may help your body produce normal red blood cells and improve the symptoms of the anemia.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

People with hemoglobin C disease can expect to lead a normal life.



Complications:

Complications include episodes of pain, hip problems, vision problems, and gallbladder disease .



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of hemoglobin C disease.



Prevention:

Genetic counseling may be appropriate for high-risk couples who wish to have a baby.



References:

Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 23rd. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2007:1225-1226.




Review Date: 11/14/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100